The ranking of a webpage and the SEO optimization of a website relies on an abundance of things, and backlinks are one of the stronger traits the Google algorithm is looking for when it comes to properly ranking a website. Backlinks seem like they’ve got plenty of years left in the tank, but the thing that developers are hoping to achieve eventually is the natural flow of high-quality content throughout search engines. If backlinks aren’t being used Google is still growing and expanding when it comes to understanding languages. The whole idea is to allow Google algorithms to decipher which content is going to be low quality and which is going to be high quality.
In order to naturally better the search engine ranking process there’s going to be technological advancements made, and as these advancements are made backlinks (like most other efficient pieces of software/technology) is going to seem irrelevant. It seems as if backlinks could possibly be on their way out, but it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.